Andre Marriner may not be the greatest referee to ever grace the Premier League – in fact, he’s arguably the owner of its greatest refereeing gaffe to date, the infamous case of mistaken identity involving two Arsenal players – but from the officials currently in action, he’s undoubtedly one of the best at trying to let the game flow as much as possible.
As FootballFanCast discussed last week, the 46-year-old ranked 17th out of 19 referees for fouls per match in the Premier League last season whilst coming bottom for fouls per tackle, highlighting his willingness to let firm but fair tackles fly in and give players the benefit of the doubt when challenging for the ball.
While that makes good viewing for the neutrals and usually benefits the underdogs in any given contest – Newcastle had only six fouls awarded against them on Sunday compared to Tottenham’s ten – it does have a knack of letting games get overheated and can lead to decisions not being judged within context of each other, which perhaps explains Jonjo Shelvey’s petulant sending off for a stamp on Dele Alli.
Only the England international will know what inspired him to tread on the Spurs midfielder right in front of Marriner’s nose, giving the referee no choice but to show a red card.
“I would like to say the tackle from behind of Harry Kane was worse. The rules are the rules and we pay for that. It is worse. It is more dangerous. I have to change one player. Dele Alli has nothing.”
But the game was already rather hot-tempered at that point, with 20 tackles put in after just 47 minutes, and Harry Kane had arguably got away with a dangerous challenge on Florian Lejeune just before half-time that resulted in the Newcastle signing being stretchered off. Rafa Benitez certainly wasn’t happy with the challenge, but should it have been a red card for the Spurs striker? Let us know by voting below…
In many ways, that highlights the positives and negatives to Marriner’s refereeing style; he refrains from blowing the whistle as much as possible – which is what we like to see in football and especially in the physical realms of the Premier League – but leaving players to their own devices by failing to assert authority over a match often leads to bigger disciplinary problems, such as Shelvey’s stamp on Alli.
That’s not to say Marriner’s to blame for an embarrassing moment Shelvey has since apologised for, but stronger refereeing early on could well have prevented it.
Overall, how do you rate Marriner’s performance at St. James’ Park? Let us know below…